Unfortunately, this is becoming more common. And not just with men who list themselves from Nigeria or London — hot spots for scams (Nigerian scammers claim to be from London sometimes) — but from others who represent themselves as all-American.
A gal pal’s friend was contacted by a man on a dating site who said he was deployed in Iraq. After 6 weeks of daily sweet emails and deepening phone conversations, it happened. He was coming back to the US, he said, and got stuck in Guam. Some mishap happened and he was $2500 short in getting back to the US, where they could finally meet. Could she wire him the money?
Luckily, this midlife woman knew enough to say no. And she cut off all contact with him. I have no idea how he got around the fact that the US military would bring him home so he wouldn’t need additional funds, but I don’t know all the details.
It’s happened to me as well. After 10 days of talking to a man, supposedly a CEO of a 40-person firm in my city, he was called away on business overseas for a week. So our first meeting would be postponed until he returned. But he didn’t skip a beat calling, IMing and emailing romantic messages every day. While away, he was assigned an immediate relocation to — you guessed it — Nigeria. He would only be in my town for less than 48 hours to close up his house and get ready for his 6-month relocation. He promised he’d make time for us to meet during this whirlwind visit. He didn’t.
During this virtual wooing, he said he’d like us to start a business together, as I had a good business mind. I said we’d discuss it down the road. Once he knew he was going to Africa, he said he’d like us to import African art. I said we could discuss it at a later date. A few days after landing in Africa, he called excitedly telling me what beautiful sculptures he’d discovered. He’d negotiated a 75% discount and had put money down for the first pieces. He investigated that we could sell these in the US for $400,000. He just needed the $12,000 balance. Could I send it to him?
No. I would not be sending $12,000 half way around the world to a man I hadn’t met for art I hadn’t seen for a business I didn’t want to be in. What kind of idiot did he think I was?
Yet women (and men!) fall for these scams all the time. When someone calls you “honey,” “sweetie,” “sweetheart,” and “darling” before they’ve even met you, that is a yellow flag. When someone tells you he’s falling in love with you but hasn’t met you, more yellow flags. When he seems to shower you with affection you crave, another yellow flag. But when he asks you for money — any amount of money — that is a red flag. Game over. Move on.
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